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As Aereo Awaits SCOTUS Review, Utah Court Hears Arguments

By Gabriella Khorasanee, JD on February 14, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Aereo is not making any friends in the broadcast industry, and frankly, it doesn't give a damn. Lawsuits have been filed in the First Circuit, Second Circuit, and the Tenth Circuit. Though the Supreme Court granted cert in the case originating in the Second Circuit earlier this year, the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah agreed to hear arguments, which happened Tuesday.

Why would the district court go ahead with arguments? Read on.

Aereo Litigation Roundup

Aereo launched in New York City in 2013, and is available in other U.S. cities, reports Deadline, and has shaken the broadcast industry to its core. Aereo charges subscribers a monthly fee to retransmit television programming, live or recorded, onto users' mobile devices using tiny, individual antennas.

A group of television broadcasters initiated an action in federal court in New York claiming that Aereo's business model violated the broadcasters' performance rights under copyright law. The court denied the broadcasters' motion for a preliminary injunction, the Second Circuit affirmed, and later denied their motion for rehearing en banc.

Another lawsuit was filed against Aereo in Boston, where Hearst Stations, also claiming copyright infringement, filed motions for preliminary injunction, a motion to transfer to the Southern District of New York (where the New York case was filed), and a motion to stay pending transfer consideration. The U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts denied all three motions, and Hearst appealed to the First Circuit.

Earlier this year, both parties to the suit filed a motion to stay the proceedings pending the Supreme Court's disposition of the Second Circuit case, which the court granted.

The Utah Case

A third lawsuit was filed in October, in Utah federal court, with broadcasters again asking the court to order a preliminary injunction. Why would the court hear arguments when a case is pending before SCOTUS? Because while the case is pending before SCOTUS, the broadcasters want a preliminary injunction.

A hearing was held Tuesday in Utah, but U.S. District Court Judge Dale Kimball didn't issue a decision, the Daily Online Examiner reports. Meantime, SCOTUS is set to hear the appeal in American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. v. Aereo, Inc., on April 22, and will issue its decision by July.

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